Earnings season is upon us, but what does it mean for companies? And more importantly, what does it mean for the average person? Adam Shell explains.
Stocks ended higher in choppy trading Thursday as oil prices rose for a third straight day and moved above $33 a barrel.
The major indexes posted gains early as strong corporate earnings reports provided a boost. But the gains quickly evaporated before stocks mounted another comeback.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 125 points, or 0.8%, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended up 0.6%.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite jumped 0.9% as tech darling Facebook posted earnings that easily beat estimates after the bell Wednesday. Facebook (FB) shares surged 15.5%
Other strong earnings reports came in from Ford (F), Alibaba (BABA), Caterpillar (CAT) and Under Armour (UA).
Energy stocks led the gainers and was the top performing S&P sector as U.S. benchmark crude rose more than 3% to $33.47 a barrel after rising as high as $34.82.
Weighing on markets was a weak manufacturing report that showed durable goods orders tumbled 5.1% in December.
Overseas, Asian markets were mostly lower as the Shanghai composite index in mainland China lost 2.9%. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.7%.
European shares were lower as Germany’s DAX index tumbled 1.1% and France’s CAC 40 down 0.6%.
The one consistent pattern this year in stocks is volatility with the Dow closing higher or lower by more then 200 points in the past four trading sessions and 11 of the 17 sessions this year.
All three major U.S. stock indexes closed lower Wednesday with the Dow dropping 223 points amid a cautious assessment from the Federal Reserve about the global economy but no indication it was backing off future rate hikes.